Update 15 April 2024: Due to some time-zone confusion, we have extended the application window. Applications now close on Tuesday, April 16th at 11:59 PM Eastern Time.

SPARCnet RaMP Application Information

Our SPARCnet RaMP application is live on ETAP as of Tuesday, March 19th, 2024. The application window will close on Sunday, April 14th, 2024 at 11:59 PM EDT. Mentors will review applications and rank applicants for Zoom interviews. We will be in touch with applicants to schedule interviews at the end of April/early May, with acceptance letters to follow shortly thereafter. Our program starts on July 1st, 2024, and we are aiming to have commitments from participants no later than June 1st, 2024. We are able to host 8-10 participants in this cohort.

Note that all participants are expected to attend and participate in SPARCnet RaMP's Field Station Bootcamp, which will take place from Sunday, July 7 - Saturday, July 13th at Mountain Lake Biological Station in Pembroke, VA. All travel, food, and lodging expenses will be covered for participants.

Preview of Application Questions

After you are registered with NSF's ETAP site, you will be able to apply for the SPARCnet RaMP opportunity. There are three main parts to the application: eligibility certification, document uploads, and additional questions. In addition to the question text, we have added some notes here to help you prepare your application. Any additional application questions can be sent to sparcnetramp - at- gmail -dot- com. We will do our best to respond within 24 hours during the work week and within 48 hours on the weekends.

Eligibility certification (pop-up box): You will be asked to certify that you meet the NSF RaMP program's eligibility requirements. These include that you:

  • Are a United States citizen, national, or permanent resident
  • Hold or will hold by July 1st, 2024, a bachelor's degree in biology or related STEM disciplines
  • Are not currently enrolled or accepted into a graduate program (e.g., M.S., Ph.D.).

Please upload copies of the following documents (PDF format preferred):

  • Your CV or resume
  • Your unofficial transcripts from your bachelor's degree

Please answer the following additional questions. Most questions are short, however, questions 5-9 are intended to help us get to know you and we are expecting roughly one paragraph answers for each of those five questions.

FAQ 6 April 2024: The character limit on questions 5-9 of the ETAP application is 5000 characters, NOT 500. We apologize for any confusion, however we have limited editing capabilities to change the error on the form.

  1. What is/was your undergraduate major?
  2. Considering the unofficial transcript you have uploaded as part of this application, please feel free to provide any context for any low grades, high grades, or particular courses you think will help you succeed in this program. If you do not have anything to add here, please put "not applicable."
  3. SPARCnet RaMP has several research locations and possible projects. If you are accepted into the program, you will be expected to work 40 hours per week in-person at the location you are accepted to for one year. Knowing this, please rank the following research locations, and answer the questions that follow. Each option below lists the the host institution, mentor, city, and state. The SPARCnet RaMP team will do our best to place you at one of your top 3 choices. For more details on mentors, locations, and possible projects, please see SPARCnet Mentors and Research Questions
    • You will be able to rank all 11 mentors in this question. We will consider your top 3 choices for placement. We strongly recommend you view the mentor listings linked above in order to identify the mentor research interests and location that best fits your interests and location.

  4. Regarding the research locations you ranked above, do you currently live within commuting distance of your top choice? If not, are you willing to move? Please use the rest of this space to explain any context for your rankings, current location, and ability to relocate.
  5. What excites you about the SPARCnet RaMP program?
  6. In terms of personal and professional goals, what do you hope to gain by participating in the SPARCnet RaMP program?
  7. What in your personal and/or professional life has prepared you for this experience? You may want to include any of the following experiences: courses you’ve taken; jobs; previous research or class projects; volunteer work; personal qualities (work ethic, skills); personal experiences; something else that you think is important.
  8. Please tell us about any areas in your personal or professional life that you have identified as areas where you would like to improve, and how you are addressing or have already addressed these areas.
  9. Do you prefer to work alone (independently) or in a group (collaboratively) towards a goal and what do you think makes you feel more comfortable working in that manner? Describe a challenge you have faced working independently or collaboratively and how you overcame it.
  10. After applications are reviewed, we will contact the top ranked applicants for Zoom interviews and conduct reference checks. We will only contact your references if you make it to this stage, and we do not need a formal letter of recommendation. Below, please list the contact information requested for TWO references. At least one reference should be a professor who knows you from your undergraduate degree. We recommend that you let your references know you have listed them on this application. Please provide the following information for TWO references:
    • Full name
    • Organization (place of work)
    • Email address
    • Phone number
    • What is your relationship with this reference (e.g., professor, supervisor, etc.)?